Known for its nickel production all over China, Jinchuan Group is the world’s fourth largest producer of nickel and the third largest producer of cobalt, leading in the non-ferrous metals industry worldwide. Its products are widely used; for example, Jinchuan Group provided nickel and cobalt as part of the raw materials used to make China‘s Shenzhou 5 Spacecraft.

Non-ferrous metals is a manufacturing industry with a long history where raw materials are multi-element resources with high grade fluctuations and need to go through complex smelting processes. There are a large number of complex physical and chemical change processes during the production. Therefore, pain points need to be solved, such as strict safety and environmental protection and high labor and energy costs, to ensure stable and continuous production.

The finished product packaging workshop of the nickel smelting factory under Jinchuan Group (hereinafter referred to as “finished product workshop”) is responsible for storing, processing, packing, and shipping out nickel products of the company to its customers. Even though the process might sound simple, incoming materials need to go through a lot of small segments such as conveyance, testing and grading, shearing, shaping, flattening, weighing, coding, packaging, storage, and loading. A lot of efforts and technologies are required to realize the total digital transformation of the workshop.

In the past, many processes such as plate lifting, shearing, packing, coding, film winding, hanging, and shaping, were done by manpower, resulting in high production risks and labor intensity and low operational efficiency. Due to reliance on manual records, paper files and other primitive means, mistakes could be easily made in data records in processes such as upstream incoming materials, testing and grading, nickel plate delivery, and equipment maintenance, and the data could be lost and could not be analyzed in a comprehensive way. If these data are collected through new digital technologies, they will bring value to the business of the company.

5G+ROOTCLOUD Platform promotes digital transformation

According to the actual production and management environment of the finished products workshop, ROOTCLOUD utilizes the technologies of 5G Internet and IIoT platforms to collect data and interconnect subsystems such as large-plate nickel processing machinery, intelligent lifting system and AGV system to integrate every production and supply link in the workshop.

5G Internet and IIoT platforms have offered great value, enabling Jinchuan Group to build its first 5G + intelligent integrated control demonstration platform, utilizing all the intelligent tools of production management and realizing the digital transformation of the finished product workshop.

Picture: Jinchuan Group ‘s intelligent operation and control center for the large-plate nickel workshop

After the project is put into use, the production efficiency of the finished product workshop and the quality and reliability of electrolytic nickel products are greatly improved, allowing data to empower business, and online workshop and production management is expected to save 20% of costs per year.

The interconnection and intelligent monitoring of workshop equipment reduces unplanned downtime accidents by 10% and increases the production of nickel products throughout the year by 30%. By optimizing the processes like selection, storage and transportation, the efficiency of the workshop material flow is improved by more than 30%, saving more than one million RMB of energy and transportation costs.

In addition, unmanned operations and isolation of humans from machines completely eliminate safety hazards due to manual operations, ensuring no injury in shearing, packing and shipping and continuous operation of the production line.

The digitization of workshops is the starting point and the key to realizing intelligent manufacturing. ROOTCLOUD has been helping Jinchuan with digital transformation, enabling Jinchuan to improve its core competitiveness and promoting the development of non-ferrous metals industry. In the future, ROOTCLOUD will continue to devote itself to serving more and more industrial enterprises.